Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Post Workout Ponderings

I am very fortunate to be a member of CrossFit Tulsa. I am really VERY fortunate because my hubby, Mr. Strong, is a trainer there.

This video was recently put together by one of the other trainers, that give a brief glimpse into what a normal workout class looks like. No I'm not in this video..... I avoid cameras at almost any cost. :)

I was given a compliment yesterday. Some one told me I was strong. But I certainly don't feel strong.....

I can tell I am making some improvements, and I even got my VERY FIRST DOUBLE UNDER tonight during group class. But I still don't feel very strong compared to other women in the class.

Now you have to understand. Looking from the outside I'm not strong. I'm not fit. I am still 40lbs overweight, and I am barely better off strength wise than I was a year ago, or 4 years ago. (It's not a failure due to the workouts or any of the coaches. The failure is mine due to my lack of commitment and consistency.)

(Please be kind as you read my attempt to explain, since it is late, way past this momma's bedtime, and I'm barely functioning. But I had to write what I was thinking now before I lost the nerve to do so.)

So being told I was strong was a huge surprise to me. And when I asked them in what way they thought I'm strong, their answer surprised me even more.

They responded, that I am strong because they know how self conscious I am, and how embarrassed of my self I am. But yet they've seen that I've been able to force myself to come anyway, and give every workout I'm here for my all.

This really got me to thinking.

Yes it is true that I am extremely self conscious of how I look, of how unfit I still am.

I am extremely embarrassed of my size, and am afraid that I would be an embarrassment to my husband. After all, he's a Physical Therapist Assistant and a CF trainer. I really have no excuse, having the resources I have here at home, or the access to the CF Tulsa box that I have, or the knowledge I have, to still be in the shape I'm in.

I am self conscious because I can't fit into the "cute workout clothes", and what I do have isn't very flattering at all.

I am self conscious because I am aware of how many times I have started working out, determined to be consistent, but yet something in life gets in the way and I don't stick with it.

And the list of why I am self conscious can go on and on.

Up to this point, I have timidly listened to my self consciousness, and have been afraid of my embarrassment. I cared way to much about what others may think about me, or say about me, keep me from stepping out and doing what is better for me. I have let fear keep me from making another step, or another effort, to reach the goals that I have. I have let my self consciousness, and fear of embarrassment, keep me from doing anything about what I am self conscious or embarrassed about.

But no longer.

I don't know exactly when. But I've decided that I'm no longer going to let those things keep me from working out.

Yes, I am still self conscious. Yes, I'm still embarrassed about how big I am. Yes I still have little nagging thoughts of doubt about being able to stick to it. But I've made a conscious decision that I'm not going to any longer let those things paralyse me from making progress.

But thinking about what this person said, made me realize, yes I am strong. I may not be strong on the outside. But when I made that decision, I have begun to be strong on the inside.

And I know there are others out there who are like me. Who up to this point have let fear or self consciousness, or little doubts stop you from doing something positive to better yourself and your life.

And if you are one of those, and you somehow stumble onto this little blog, I just want to encourage you. I want to encourage you to stand up for yourself on the inside.

Tell yourself that no longer will you let fear of embarrassment stop you from taking another step. Tell yourself that no longer will you let your self consciousness paralyse you into inactivity. Tell yourself you no longer care what others may think or say.

And honestly, it's none of your business what others think of you. Your business is only what God thinks of you.

Take that next step you need to take to better health and fitness.

Yes, you most likely will have the self consciousness, the little doubts. But the more times you take that next step, you will find that those fears and doubts are unfounded like I have, and the easier you will overcome bigger fears and doubts.

You will find a hidden strength deep within yourself.

And you will become strong in your inner-self long before it is revealed in your outer-self.

Monday, March 14, 2011

McLinky Monday - My Favorite Things


This week on RHOK - McLinky Monday, Mrs. Albright shared the things she treasured the most, and asked us to do the same.

I love sharing things that mean the most to me. I am aware that others may look at these things and not think they have much value....

We are determined to be debt free in the next 4 years, so we live in a very small home, and have a minimal lifestyle. We don't have much that is considered worth much monetarily. I have very few heirlooms passed on to my from relatives. Most of what we own, we own because it is practical. But I love my home, my life, and I feel I am richly blessed.

To me these things are my greatest treasures.

At the top of my most treasured list is my hubby. But Mr. Strong Man detests pictures... and I wasn't able to sneak a photo of him.

Next on my list are our 3 beautiful girls, Little Miss Helpful, Little Miss Sunshine, and Little Miss Daredevil. Here they are this morning cuddling on the couch right after they woke up.

These are the silk flowers I carried in my wedding bouquet and our unity candle. The unity candle is a glass oil lamp that was custom etched for our marriage ceremony. They hang on the wall over our dressers.

I love collecting knitting needles. I rarely use these, but they sit in a vase on a corner of my craft cabinet. I love the kiddie knitting needles with the cheerful faces! They are so fun and I smile every time I see them!

This is our piano that was given to us by a dear friend. It was used by her daughters when they were growing, and she passed it on to us. On top of the piano sits the family bible, my favorite lamp, and some pictures.

The pictures are reproductions of paintings by my favorite artist, Mary Cassatt. (I got them recently at a yard sale and I'm waiting patiently for Mr. Strong Man to put wall anchors up so I can hang them).

I love tea cups, and this is my small collection. I like to have afternoon tea when we are home, and my girls love using their own little dainty tea cups. Even the most boisterous tom boys (like mine) can appreciate a little elegance. :)

I have 1 tea cup that was a part of my husband's grandmother's china set, and is the only piece that has survived all these years. Hanging on the bakers rack you can see my aprons. I have 1 everyday apron for me, 1 apron for my daughter, and 3 handmade 1/2 aprons made by an old friend.

This is my knitting basket where I keep my current knitting projects. I am currently working on a Candle Flame Shawl, a Feather and Fan Scarf for Little Miss Sunshine, a Diamond Lace Scarf for me, and a Lacy Leafy Baby Afghan.

This is the Candle Flame Shawl I have been working on for several years. It is about 3/4 completed, and will be a gift to hubby's Granny when it is done.

This is the baby keepsake box. I have kept a few infant outfits that all three of my girls have worn. What you see here are the keepsake baby blankets.

The quilt was hand made by a friend for my oldest daughter, and has covered all 3 of my girls. The afghan on the lower left is a crocheted Granny Square Baby Afghan that I discovered at a thrift store. The two on the lower right and the one on the upper right were crocheted for the three girls by Granny. But my favorite is the yellow afghan in the center.

This was the afghan knit by Granny for Mr. Strong Man when he was an infant. I have the same pattern that she used for this afghan, and will be making one for each of my girls. Hopefully some day I will make one for each of my grand children.

I had a lot of fun sharing my treasures with you! Each and every one of these items has a dear place in my home and my heart.

Now it is your turn to share your treasures with us. Write about your favorite things on your blog, and link up with RHOK on the original McLinky Monday post.



You Are My God

Sunday, March 13, 2011

First Planting of the Season

Oh it's finally here! The glorious day I dug holes and filled them with lovely things with roots!

I love each and every season, but the drabness of winter got old, quick.

This year we did have a lovely snow storm, and the snow was absolutely beautiful for a few days. Unfortunately, it did not last long.

The snow became dirty from sand or mud, and the beauty was tarnished. The snow melted, uncovering dull yards and dreary fields of brown grass. The countryside was full of sleeping trees and colorless landscapes.

During the cold winter, my main hobby is knitting or crocheting. The yarn satisfies my need for color, and it's therapeutic to me because wool feels wonderful to work with. But I also spend time perusing seed catalogs, thinking of what I want most to plant in my small garden plot, and itching to dig in some dirt.

Thankfully we did have warm spells with lots of sunshine before the biggest snow storm. I took advantage of these days and recruited hubby to turn compost into the soil. I didn't dare plant anything yet because I hadn't yet made a cold frame to help the soil warm early.

But now the natural world is starting to wake up. Pear trees are adorned with an abundance of white blooms. Red Clover is dotting the hillsides with splashes of color. Tulips are beginning to push through the crust of earth. And Daffodils are brightening spring flower plots with color of sunshine.

The spring I have been craving for is finally here!

Today I bought new Strawberry plants, onion sets, and garlic. I also bought seeds for flowers and some vegetables. I spent this afternoon happily turning the soil one more time, dividing up one plot, and planting. And when the rain showers began, I came inside to plant veggie seeds for seedlings.

It was a wonderful day when my dreaming, wishing, and planning could be put into action. Now I am looking forward to planting more, and reaping the rewards in the late Spring and Summer!

What do you look forward to with the coming Spring weather?

New Strawberry Plants

Companion planting onions among strawberries

Starting Tomato, Cucumber, and Pepper Seedlings

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Diamond Lace Scarf Cast On

Photo1513 by jdcadc
Photo1513 a photo by jdcadc on Flickr.

This evening I cast on to begin the Diamond Lace Scarf, or the Short Row Lace Shawl designed by Iris Schreier. I am using ArtYarns Cottonspring H15 (Pink Pearl Twist) and H5 (Plum Twist). I purchased both colrways of this yarn online at

This yarn is a DK weight yarn, and is thinner than what I am used to. It will take some time to get the right tension for working with this yarn.

I am using size 8 Denise Knitting needles.

This pattern is free with the purchase of any ArtYarns yarn. The first part of the pattern may be found at

Part 1 Complete 03/08/11

McLinky Spring Clean Challenge


This week the RHOK rolled out a spring cleaning challenge, a before and after challenge.

Yes I know the button says McLinky MONDAY, but I was a little busy yesterday. No I wasn't doing stereotypical housewifey activities like watching soap operas. I was occupied with wonderful housewifey activities like cleaning up potty accidents, spilled milk, running errands, and then taking our SUV in for repairs.

So I'm sorry. I apologize. I just didn't have time to get it done on time.

Apology accepted? Great!

Now back to the challenge.

RHOK challenged us to tackle one messy area of our home for spring cleaning. For this challenge I took on underneath the bathroom sink. This is one small space that I constantly battle with it being messy and cluttered.

This picture is my after picture.

My before picture has been withheld to protect the innocent.... and because I feel too vulnerable showing you my dusty plumbing. I'm just not ready to be that vulnerable.

Just trust me, it was bad.

We are a family of 5, in a tiny home, with 1 very tiny bathroom. (1 husband + 1 wife + 3 daughters + 1 tiny bathroom = my husband needs some sympathy.) The one tiny bathroom only has 1 tiny under sink cabinet for additional storage.

I am not really a girly lady. But my daughters are trending towards girly girl things. That equals a lot of hair accessories. Add that to normal, everyday bathroom items, and bathroom storage gets really crowded, quickly cluttered, and extremely disorganized.

It is really hard to stay on top of keeping it together because usually we are in a hurry and just toss items back in underneath and shut the door.

To contain all the hair accessories, I freed up several school supply containers by purging old crayons and craft supplies we rarely use.

I labeled each container for each type of hair accessory, such as "Hair Bands", "Clips and Bobby Pins", "Scrunchies" etc.

I got a medium size white bin for the extra bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and hair products. And I used small/medium office drawer organizers to hold soap, extra toothpaste and toothbrushes.

To organize the hair dryers, curling irons, and clippers, I glued a 1x4 to the inside of the cabinet and nailed in nails to hang them from.

It honestly didn't take that long to do. The part that took the most time was sorting out all the hair accessories and placing them in their own box.

Now when we are fixing hair, we can just take out one box with exactly what we need, instead of a huge bin with everything mixed in. It will be a lot easier to keep it neat and tidy!

This is my first spring cleaning challenge. What's yours?



Monday, March 7, 2011

Emily Ocker's Cast On

Today was a busy, busy day full of home schooling, errands, and visiting the library. I didn't have much time to sit down and do what I love the most, knitting. But I was able to squeeze in just enough time to make a few stitches.

I a started a new blanket to replace a previous one I was not able to finish.

I began a baby blanket 2 weeks after Little Miss Daredevil was born. I have been working on it off and on for the past 3 years, but I underestimated the amount of yarn I needed. So I obviously ran out of yarn, and sadly discovered the yarn I was using had been discontinued.

There is nothing more frustrating than spending countless hours on a project only to be able to not finish it because you ran out of yarn. So this time I bought double the amount of yarn I think I will need.

The pattern I am using uses a circular beginning, more specifically the "Emily Ocker's Circular Beginning" as described in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitters Almanac.

This beginning is a little tricky to get the hang of. But once you do it a few times, it really is easy, and the simplest way to start any knitting project that requires a circular beginning.

Below is one of the best tutorials of this beginning I could find. Thank God for YouTube!

And the shawl that she shows in the beginning of the video is absolutely beautiful. After doing some Google Searching, I do believe the shawl is knit from the Feather and Fan Shawl in Meg Swansen's Gathering of Lace. It is very similar to the shawl featured in this Blog post here on The Rainey Sisters

Do you have a craft or hobby you love? Do you have any projects in the works? Share them with me! Leave a comment with a small blurb, or post it on your blog and leave a link in comments below!



Saturday, March 5, 2011

Featured Finished Project - Another Dishcloth

Photo1474 by jdcadc
Photo1474 a photo by jdcadc on Flickr.

I love knitting, and lately I have been knitting a lot of dishcloths because they are small (so I can take them with me easily) and quick (for quick satisfaction!)

To appease my knitting addiction, I joined the Monthly Dishcloth Knit-Along yahoo group.

This dishcloth was knit from the KAL February 2011 Mid Month pattern, and is called "Weave Me, Wash Me" by Alli Barrett.

I LOVE how this cloth turned out. This picture does not do well to show the finished pattern. but it is a type of basket weave coupled with a seed stitch. The resulting clothed turned out a nice, generous size. I can't wait to knit a few more.

Normally all of the Knit-Along patterns are archived in the Yahoo Group Files. But Alli Graciously shared a pattern that she sells for profit, so it is not posted in the archve files.

If you like this dishcloth, you can knit one for yourself by purchasing the pattern here . It is well worth it!

You can also see all my other projects, completed and in-progress, at my Ravelry projects page.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Home Made Laundry Soap - Part Deux

I have been making my own home made laundry soap for some time, and I love it. It saves us so much money when compared to store bought laundry soap, and I believe it cleans just as well as the leading brands. Plus I know what is in my laundry soap and don't have to worry about chemicals that might irritate mine and my daughters' sensitive skin.

I know there are LOTS of websites and Blogs about how to make laundry soap. In fact I already have one from way back when. But I have a few friends who have asked me to show them how I make it. I don't have time to show each of them individually (I wish I did girls! Sorry), and since I tweaked my recipe some what I thought I would make another post "how to make it" now.

Home made laundry soap does not take a lot of ingredients. Simply Borax, Washing Soda, bar soap, and water.

There are 3 different types I use, depending on what I have on hand, or which store I happen to be shopping at when I need to pick up ingredients for laundry soap. I buy the Fels-Naptha and the Kirk's Castile soap at Reasor's. I buy the Zote bar soap at Warehouse Market or Latin American grocery stores.

I've shown all 3 of them below.

My recipe is:

1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Washing Soda (not Baking Soda, there is a difference)
1/3 bar of soap.

Here I am using 1/6 of a bar of Zote Soap, and 1/6 of a bar of Fels-Naptha. This is the combination I like the best. But if you only have 1 bar of soap, use 1/3 of a bar.

You will also need a medium-large pot, a plastic spoon, and a 2 gallon bucket with a lid.

If you have an old pot you can keep around for just making soap, that would be best. Do NOT use a cast iron pot you normally use. My experience tells me if you use cast iron, you will be tasting soap in whatever you cook for quite a while.

Use a food processor to grate your soap, or hand grate your soap, as fine as you can grate it. Place the grated soap into the pot.

Fill a tea kettle with water, and heat to boiling. Pour it into the pot. I pour it over the hand grater to melt any soap that may be stuck on the grater. (Yes I have a spotted cow tea kettle, and I love it!)

Place the pot on the stove top over medium-low heat, warm and stir frequently until all the soap is dissolved.

While the soap is on the stove top, measure the 1/2 cup Borax and 1/2 cup Washing Soda into your bucket.

When the bar soap is dissolved in the water, pour the mixture into the bucket, and stir well to thoroughly mix the soap, water, and dry ingredients. It will look like a runny "Icee" mixture, and frothy on top. Stir until the dry ingredients are completely dissolved.

Refill your pot with more HOT water. I refill the tea kettle and boil more water. Pour it back into the empty pot to rinse the pot of any residual soap. Pour it into the bucket. Add more hot water if needed to fill the bucket. At this point you can add any essential oils for fragrance. I like to add 5-10 drops of Tea Tree Oil.

This is what it looks like in its liquid state. You can use it immediately if you need to do laundry right away. If you don't get all of the soap completely dissolved, don't worry. A few pieces floating won't hurt it.

Set it in a place where it can sit safely away from your littles. Stir it occasionally as it cools. It will slowly transform from a liquid to a gel, to almost solid. Keep stirring it to make sure the soap is evenly distributed through the mixture.

I use 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup per wash load, depending on the size of the load and how dirty it is. For fabric softener, I use 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar. My clothes come out clean and soft.

Do you make your own laundry soap? Or do you make your own home made cleaners? Share in the comments below, or share it on your blog and leave your link in comments!



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shawn McDonald - Open Me

Your Heart Matters... But Don't Forget Your Appearance!

This morning I woke up with Proverbs 31:30 in my thoughts.

It simply states,

"Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not
lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the
Lord, she shall be praised!"

Proverbs 31:30 Amplified

This verse speaks volumes of wisdom when determining what traits we want to model, and what we want to instill into our daughters.

Above charm, grace, and beauty, we should be reverently and worshipfully fearing (in other words respecting to the utmost) the Lord our God. This is the trait with the highest importance.

But it is not the only trait that is important. Charm, grace, and beauty does have some importance. But if they are not exhibited by a woman with a right heart, they will be deceptive and vain.

Deceptive because charm will simply cover a heart that seeks its own pleasure. Vain because physical beauty is only fleeting and temporary, and as it is well said "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

True beauty starts at the heart, The inner core of a woman's being. The more a woman worships and love God, the more His Spirit will have His work on the inside of her, and the more evident it will be with the fruit of the Spirit.

Yes the heart of a woman matters the most. However, I have used it as an excuse for far too long to neglect my physical appearance.

I used to think, "God looks at the heart, so what does it matter what man sees".

But it does matter, and it matters the most to our husbands.

Godly men do tend to be a tad bit "deeper" and care about a woman's heart. But they sure do appreciate a woman who has a beautiful heart and a beautiful body. And no, it is not being shallow. God created men to be visually stimulated.

Do you think that when God created the first woman, Eve, he created a person who was not beautiful? I honestly like to think she was named Woman, because when Adam first looked at her, he exclaimed "Whoa!! Man!" Eve was the first woman, and she was hot!

There was some point in our relationship I know my Mr. Strong looked at me and exclaimed the same, "Whoa!! Man!" It was my appearance that attracted my husband to me, before he knew my heart.

I want to do what I can to nurture the femininity, the allure, and the mystery that I possessed at the start of our relationship. I want to take little steps to be attractive for him and none other, because he is the most important man in my life.

I started a few months ago when I got a more stylish hair cut and started working out consistently. My next step is to slowly makeover my wardrobe (including new night-wear), and start to wear make up again. I've also had some fun sending Mr. Strong flirty pictures via text.

Do you still possess a little bit of allure for your husband? Or do you need to need to revive a little bit of the mystery that first attracted your husband to you? What steps can you, or are you taking, to nurture your femininity at the moment in the season of life you are in?

Share below, or post in your own blog post and share the link in the comments!



Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fitting in the crazy quilt of life

Haven't you ever noticed that getting a group of women together is like assembling a crazy quilt? We each have different shapes, sizes, colors, talents, and personalities.

Individually a woman may not have a magnetic personality, or seem attractive to others. Or a woman may have attributes that make her stand out and shine in a crowd. But when you assemble these women together, just as a quilt-maker assembles snippets and pieces of fabric, you get a beautiful mosaic that creates a picture of beauty.

It takes a master quilt maker to truly create something with beauty from so many little pieces that are little more than scraps.

Just the same it takes a Master Creator to assemble together women together as part of the body of Christ. When we each take our designed place, we contribute to a work that is more beautiful and more influential than anything we could do on our own.

But far too often women don't take their place for one reason or another.

I, for the longest time, wasn't truly where God wanted me to be because I felt inferior and insignificant. I would see all the women around me who had great talents and abilities, or who appeared to have it all together. I idolized them and I wanted to be just like them. I tried to be just like them, but it didn't work because I was not created to be them. God created me to be me.

I finally found where God designed me to fit in, when I truly accepted myself and who God created me to be.

We as women should not idolize other women because we feel that we are inferior. We should not feel that we have to be like some one else. We should be ourselves and love who God created us to be.

And realize, no matter how plain and ordinary we feel we are, we really are beautiful because of what we add to the bigger masterpiece where we belong.